Kudos for Yellowstone Campground Host Ray

Letter sent to the Yellowstone NPS office:

I am a frequent Yellowstone camper. I’m accustomed to feeling compelled to “tutor” campers around me on just about every trip due to garbage, food, coolers, gray water catch basins for pop-up campers, etc. being left out when not in use or overnight, and other bear country (or just clean camp) basics. I’ve often found unattended campfires left by departing campers that I’ve put out (several times during the extreme fire danger of September 2012 at Lewis Lake CG, I put out unattended campfires – fires that kicked up after campers departed without drowning their fires).

When I arrived at the Tower CG on Monday June 9, 2014, I was greeted at the entrance by the host Ray. Ray delivered a little welcome and “here are the things you need to know” speech. I was grinning through it and Ray, seeing my expression, said ” you might already know all this but it’s my job.” I wasn’t grinning with chagrin at the lecture or the lack of necessity of it in my case, I was grinning because I was very pleased that all arrivals were being greeted with that information. That’s great!

Ray made regular rounds around the campground, visiting with campers and advising them in a friendly and helpful way. For the first time in ages, I didn’t feel the need to advise people about putting things away. Ray had it well covered and, having been informed from the get-go, people were keeping things tidy.

In all the times I’ve camped in Yellowstone, I’ve never been greeted at the CG entrance with information like that. There have been occasions that I’ve seen CG hosts making the rounds and talking to and advising people, but those have been the exception, not the norm. I’ve never seen a CG host walking around helping campers with information like Ray did so very well. I spent 3 days at Norris before moving to Tower and never even saw a campground host.

Ray was present and helpful, without ever being intrusive. When Ray made his final rounds on his last day at Tower, I thanked him in person for the wonderful job he was doing, but I want to let the Park Service know (you probably already do) what a great host Ray is. I think he would be a great mentor for others hosts as well as campers.

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